Fire Chief History
Grady King: 1931 - 1954
Pat Tignor: 1954 - 1963
Floyd Thornburg: 1963 - 1973
Gene Tignor: 1973 - 1989 (served as the City's first full time Fire Chief)
Frank Burns: 1989 - 2019
Tommy Harmon: 2019 - Present
KM Fire Department History
Although not officially organized at the time, reports prior to 1931 indicate that the City of Kings Mountain owned a 1924 truck (hose carrier) and had volunteer firefighters who would respond, and, to the amusement of the community, usually end up pushing the old truck to the scene of the fire.
However, as growth of the City continued into 1931 the Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of a 1931 American La France fire truck, and on May 21, 1931 the Kings Mountain Fire Department was officially born, and fought its first fire shortly thereafter at 2:00 AM on May 22 at the home of Mr. Wid Morris.
In the beginning, there was only one paid member of the department, Mr. P.D. Fulton, who was hired strictly as a driver for the 1931 engine. He was on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week and worked for the sum of $80.00 per month.
The budget for that year (1931-1932) for the Fire Department was $7,710, with pay for volunteers authorized on July 20, 1931. The operating budget for the department today exceeds $500,000.
In August 1931 the Board of Commissioners authorized the first fire department building - a house in which to keep the new fire truck Today the Fire Department is in its third station and has opened a sub station on the west side of the City.
On February 1, 1932, the Board authorized hiring of the second fireman, and on June 6, 1932 adopted a resolution of commendation for excellent service and the success of the Fire Department which was due in no small part to the officers of the Department.
Today the Kings Mountain Fire Department has eight full time employees, six part time employees, and twenty five volunteer employees. The Department has at least 2 men on duty at all times.
Kings Mountain has three neighboring departments with whom we respond mutual aid with: Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department, Bethlehem Volunteer Fire Department, and in Gaston County Crowders Mountain Fire & Rescue.
The department operates 3 engines, a 75 foot ladder truck, a support vehicle, and a brush truck to protect the City.
The Kings Mountain Fire Department has an ISO rating as a Class 4 department, having been rated most recently in 2005.
We have personnel who are certified as Firefighter Level II. We also have members who are certified in other areas such as Fire Inspector Level I, Level II, and Level III. We also have Haz-Mat Technicians, Haz-Mat Operations, Emergency Vehicle Driver Operations, CPR, Medical Responders, EMT's, Arson Investigation, Confined Space Rescue, Trench Rescue, Swift Water Rescue, and Extrication. This past year we averaged about 130 hours of training per member, and some members had over 400 hours of training!
Members of our department are active in the community and county organizations such as: Cleveland County Haz-Mat Team, Arson Strike Team, Kings Mountain Rescue Squad, Bethlehem Volunteer Fire Department, Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department, Cleveland County Training Officers Association, Cleveland County Firefighters Association, North Carolina Association of Fire Chiefs, North Carolina Haz-Mat Association, Western North Carolina Firefighters Association, North Carolina Association of Fire Service Instructors and many more.